March is finishing up some stuff that is taking up 10,080 minutes this week so I’m stepping into her Size Sixes (I’m 5’9″ tall and …well, let’s just say those boots iz squallin’!!!)
I lived in an urban environment for most of my adult life and never gave much thought to the good ol’ days – most cosmopolitan areas are constantly shifting so you don’t have much time to mourn What Was – besides, I have a really fragile visual memory that is only now allowing me to recall the visual past – I’m one of those people ror whom, if you knock down a building and replace it with another, in the time it takes for that new building to go up I’ve forgotten what was previously there (for awhile I’d forgotten that the Palmolive Building in Chicago still existed (I only saw it from Lake Shore Drive as a child, with its famous Lindbergh Beacon). Sad, but true….but these past 5 years, writing for the blog and living in a rather static environment, has allowed my skittering mind to settle and reflect on a lot of my early sensory experiences. Here are a few of them:
Thinking about the Palmolive Building got me thinking about toothpaste (don’t ask) – when I was a kid we used Ipana, which I loved (great taste!!) – then my mom switched us to Crest (ew). I miss Ipana. It always smelled – and tasted – like that intriguing Beeman’s Gum which I could swear came in tablet form, like Chiclets. Am I making that up? Anyway, I love the smell of both of those. Does Ipana still exist?
Nervine. My mother suffered from depression and spent most of her waking moments in a otc-induced fog, to keep from killing everyone in sight. This was in the 60s, so there was no Cymbalta – in fact, we’d not yet accepted depression as a chemical imbalance. You had ‘nerves’, if you were a woman, and took ‘powders’. My mother took Nervine. We all knew to get the hell out of the way when she pulled that glass tube out of the medicine cabinet – but I always was fascinated by that glass tube, with those tablets…because they FIZZED! I would peek around the bathroom door (I was 6) and listen for the plop! and fzzzzz! and once, even sneaked my nose in the glass when she turned her back (it tickled). To this day I have a fondness for effervescent tablets because in my house those tablets were a mysterious signal that everything would level out in an hour or so and I would get my mother back. And dinner.
A-1 Salve (Wizard Products Co, Chicago). Apparently this company got binked on several occasions in the late 40s by the JAMA Bureau of Investigations and the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act for misrepresentation (false claims! can you IMAGINE? what a concept!) – but what did that matter? My folks LOVED this salve, reputed to cure everything from eczema to ringworm and the corresponding sulphur soap, which purportedly killed everything in its path. The petroleum base and rotten-egg sulphur smell equaled HEALTHY TIMES in our household. I came upon half a boxtop, when I was clearing out my pop’s old meds cabinet and those smells came roaring back, just from the visual! I’ve forgotten the scent of 90% of the ‘fumes I reviewed in the past 4 months – but A-1 salve? Nevah!
Poly-vi-Sol. Brown bottle with bulb dropper. 3 drops on the tongue in the morning. Is there any Boomer alive who doesn’t remember the smell and that weird B-vitamin taste? But I don’t remember it smelling or tasting bad – just very vitamin-y. And all my peers seem to remember it similarly. Funnily, this current generation of moms (at least those on the blogs) seem to find it VILE! Did they change something? Again, for me, this is one of those ‘everything is totally okay in my world’ smells, unlike Cod Liver Oil, which smells like terror. To this day. Fish Oil tabs are my Cross To Bear now.
So….what are your Good Ol’ Days smells? Mine seem to be all about dosing and slathering but ymmv – Perfume? Food? Patent Medicines? Housecleaning supplies?? (my household madeleine is Sprayway Glass Cleaner) – would love to hear about them! I have a buncho samples to give away, including Givenchy’s Dahlia Noir – I was going to review it but Robin @ NST did it way better here - no reason to reinvent that wheel. It’s worth a sniff and I’ll throw in a couple of other samps to a few winners via random.org